New Delhi, June 1
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday promised to take bilateral ties with Nepal to “Himalayan heights” while announcing a fertiliser plant in Nepal, a second intra-country petroleum pipeline, conclusion of a revised trade and transit agreement, fresh joint hydropower projects and a new long-term power trading agreement that will enable India import from Nepal 10,000 MW of power in the next 10 years.
Along with visiting Nepal Prime Minister Pushp Kumar Dahal ‘Prachanda’, PM Modi also launched several projects through joint inauguration and presided over the exchange of several more MoUs and agreements. Prachanda called the fresh initiatives as “path-breaking” which will provide fresh momentum to the ties. He also welcomed the Indian initiative to enable Nepal to export power to Bangladesh.
PM Modi, in his press statement, said he and Prachanda had taken these decisions in order to make the partnership a “super hit”. They also dwelt on contentious issues and felt dialogue was the key to resolution. PM Modi referred to differences on the border and said there was nothing that could not be resolved by talks. Prachanda mentioned the problem of floods and inundation and said the two sides are taking steps to ameliorate this annual problem.
PM Modi said that under the revised Transit Agreement, Nepal can use new rail routes as well as inland waterways. New rail links will also be established and Nepal Railway employees will be trained in Indian Railway institutions. Two cross-country bridges would enhance connectivity in the higher reaches. The PM also welcomed the pact on cross-border payments which would benefit thousands of students, pilgrims and tourists from both countries as well as the Nepalese coming to India for medical treatment.
Cooperation in the power sector, he said, gets more strength with the signing of pacts on hydropower projects while mentioning Lower Arun (cleared by Nepal three days before Prachanda’s visit) and Lower Arun (investment pact signed last year) while also setting fresh deadlines for the Pancheshwar multipurpose project.
After noting the positive impact of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline, it has been decided to extend it to Chitwan and construct a new pipeline along with storage terminals at either ends between Siliguri and Jhapa in eastern Nepal. Both sides had reached an agreement to set up a fertiliser plant in Nepal. The two PMs also directed their officials to speed up all projects related to the Ramayan Circuit.
In his statement, PM Modi recalled that his vision of Nepal during his first visit was now becoming a reality. “I had given the HIT formula -- highways, i-ways and transiways – so that our borders do not become barriers. We have made so many accomplishments in the last nine years that it will take a whole day to recount all of them,” he observed.
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